Ghost in the Shell LiveMovie

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LadyTevar
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Ghost in the Shell LiveMovie

Postby LadyTevar » 2017-03-31 12:47am

I got to see the early-viewing tonight, and I have to admit I was impressed.

In a way, the movie is a new Ghost in a very familiar Shell. While we see all of the clips from the trailer, and all the other famous scenes are lifted from the Original in beautiful homage, the story is wholly new. This works in its favor -- we're not getting a watered-down rehash or butchered remake. What we get is a fresh look at the Major and how she ties into a very nasty little conspiracy.

Despite the new story, the old questions are there in full force: What is the difference between Machine and Man? What makes one Human, when minds and memories can be hacked, downloaded, altered, and erased? This was the true heart of the Original, and I felt they conveyed the theme well.

Now: Scarlet Johansson. I think she did a good job, and I could believe her as The Major. Her past movies where she played AI, or someone not quite human, pay off well here. We also get an explanation why she's Caucasian, and it's tied to why she's cyborged.
Section 9: They went with a wide range of nationalities here, and it works very well imho. Batou is played by Pilou Asbæk, a Danish actor, and he does not try to hide the fact he's foreign and not American. Chin Han is Togusa, but other than a few scenes and one comment that he's fully human, he is background material, as are Ishikawa, Borma, and Saito. They all get small talk and friendly chatter, along with Ladriya (new female Section 9 member), but they're just there to fill out the fight scenes and be there when the Major needs backup; no more, no less. While I'd like to have seen more, this was a story about The Major. Batou and The Chief, the two she's traditionally closest to, were all the support needed to move the story along.

However, "Beat" Takeshi Kitano takes the role of Chief Aramaki and owns it. He is poised, subtle, and doesn't show his steel until necessary. In an interesting move, all his lines are in Japanese, with English Subtitles that always float somewhere next to him, or next to whomever he is on the radio with. It's an odd style choice, but I found it worked wonderfully both with the Chief and Section 9 as a whole.

Kuze. Again, this is not the Kuze from "GitS:2ndGig". His reasons for his actions are extremely personal, and he does not intend to stop until he has his answers. Once again, it falls back on the theme of GitS -- who are you, when things have been altered and erased? How far will you go to find out what you've lost? Michael Pitt manages to walk a tightrope between menace and the pathos of a broken man.

So, is it a good movie?
IMHO Yes. It took all the best from the first movie, and tied it to a new story without making me feel like it was a stretch. The plot was clean, uncluttered, and kept the true theme of the Original: "What Is Human?" I exited the theater feeling the movie had done everything it set out to do, and I was fully satisfied with the way it turned out. 4/5
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TheFeniX
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Re: Ghost in the Shell LiveMovie

Postby TheFeniX » 2017-03-31 12:22pm

To this day I will say that Batou should have been played, and voiced, by Ron Perlman. NOTE: I didn't see the GitS movie until after Alien:R.

And both my eyes and brain love ScarJo. She's beautiful, but more importantly a stand-out actress. But I see her casting here as a safe-bet on name power is pretty apparent. I'm sure she knocks in out of the park. That, combined with the PG-13 rating is making me pick this one up on a cheap-watch. I don't know if it affected anyone else, but there was this harsh cut between the human gore and machinery gore of the movie that stood out to me. I felt the same way about the Animatrix. It's hard to explain but that physical component of the divide between man and machine helped sell it for me, even if the plan was just to have tits and blood (I don't know, I just assume).

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Re: Ghost in the Shell LiveMovie

Postby Adam Reynolds » 2017-03-31 06:20pm

I have to take the dissenting view for this one. As as a truly massive fan of the original anime film, I felt this to be a truly hollow reproduction of the original that doesn't fully capture the feelings of the original. It is essentially a not particularly good cover band. While Scarlet and the rest of the cast did a fine job and the visuals were effective, it lacked much of what I liked about the original in terms of story.

There were a few things I liked that it did, like that it made the original's extremely slow airplanes helicopters or that it actually used Saito as a sniper, but overall it felt like it had the same problem as The Force Awakens, that it was made without the full understanding of what made the original as good as it was. Though I would actually say it was even worse than that one, as it was the first movie in a while in which I saw the flaws as I was watching it for the first time as opposed to noticing them later. Even with The Force Awakens or other movies that I had problems with, I generally could enjoy them at least once. In this case, the issues hit me almost immediately.

My primary complaint is the fact that there were numerous changes that ruined what caused it to be so effective in the original or just created plot holes and logical problems where none previously existed. Covering the deeper problems requires spoilers(see below), but two examples of the latter that aren't really spoilers are the thermoptic camouflage and the diving scene. In the first case, in the original, she wore a hood that covered her face and goggles to see through her own invisibility, which doesn't make sense otherwise. In the latter case, the reason she went diving in the first place was never addressed, that it was the only time she felt alive because she might die. She had to wear a pack that kept her afloat and would die if it failed, while in this version she swam normally. The visuals were there in both cases, but the reasons behind them were lost.

This covers both my above complaint in greater detail as well as the main plot twist.
Spoiler
In general, it felt like the various action set pieces were an attempt to recreate the action of the original film without the plot that justifies it. Both the garbage man and the spider tank were used in a manner that felt out of place, in which it felt like they were used to emulate the original rather than because it made logical sense. The spider tank followed by the helicopter's snipers had the exact same problem as Starkiller Base, that it was inserted without justification in terms of story.

In the case of the garbage men, in the original he was hacked to do something that didn't feel out of character, not to be an entirely different person. It was also the criminal hacker who created the action scene, not the garbage man. Ghost hacking generally changed or created specific memories rather than entire identities.

In the case of the spider tank, it made no sense that it just showed up within range before a helicopter could get there. In the original it was in position because it was guarding something. It is also odd that a corporation has access to snipers on helicopters and a spider tank in the first place and have enough security personnel to take on Section 9, in the original it was because they were a rival branch of government.

The main plot twist was also problematic. Besides the racism issues, it seemed to be creating a conflict just to create one. In the original, Motoko sometimes wondered who she really was, but at the same time knew the truth. Her role as a cyborg warrior was chosen rather than forced upon her and that was a key part of her character. It was also odd in that she was supposed to be the first here, while in the original there was the key scene in which she saw dozens of different versions of herself.

In the original film and series there is also a sense that Motoko is male at heart, and that her merging with the puppet master is about her finally realizing her true gender identity.